Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Regions Insurance, Inc. v. Alliant Insurance Services, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division

April 24, 2015

REGIONS INSURANCE, INC., d/b/a REGIONS INSURANCE OF MISSISSIPPI, Plaintiff,
v.
ALLIANT INSURANCE SERVICES, INC., Defendants.

ORDER

LINDA R. ANDERSON, Magistrate Judge.

This cause came before the Court for telephonic hearing on April 7, 2015, on Plaintiff's Motion to Compel [30]. Having considered the applicable law, the pleadings filed, and the arguments of counsel, the Court finds that the motion is well advised only in part and shall be granted to the extent set forth hereafter.

Plaintiff seeks to compel discovery on three categories of financial information: (1) documents showing revenue and commissions that Defendant received from customers transferred from Regions to Alliant via Painter, et al; (2) documents regarding the net worth of Defendant; and, (3) discovery regarding "other acts" and past conduct of Defendant for punitive damages purposes. A significant portion of the briefing relates to whether or not counsel have complied with the Court's requirement that the parties confer in good faith to resolve the issues in controversy prior to filing the motion. In this instance, the Court finds that counsel have attempted to resolve the issues; the objections are reasonable, as well as the requests. The disagreement between the parties (related to discovery regarding damage calculations and discovery regarding punitive damages) is not frivolous, and both sides have ample authority supporting their positions. No sanctions or costs will be imposed on either side.

The Court notes Defendant's remarks regarding the extensive discovery previously provided by it in the underlying state court arbitration, Regions v. Painter. The undersigned, of course, is not privy to that discovery and is loathe to accuse Regions of pursuing the instant discovery "primarily for strategic reasons...which are substantially unrelated to the merits of its claims against Alliant...." [33, p. 13].

(1) Documents showing revenue and commissions that Defendant received from customers transferred from Regions to Alliant via Painter, et al

The first category is sought through the following interrogatory and request for production:

REGIONS' INTERROGATORY NO. 6: For the period of July 15, 2013, to the date of your interrogatory answers, state all revenues, payments, income, gross commissions, profitsharing amounts, bonuses or other compensation or consideration that Painter and/or you received for each month and in total for each former Regions customer that transferred its business to Alliant after Painter began work at Alliant.
ALLIANT'S RESPONSE: Alliant objects to this interrogatory on the basis that the information it seeks is irrelevant to the issues in this lawsuit and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Alliant additionally objects to this interrogatory on the basis that the information it seeks is sensitive and proprietary so that any marginal relevance it may have, if any (which is disputed), is outweighed by the considerations that weigh in favor of protecting the information sought by this interrogatory. Alliant finally objects to this interrogatory as seeking information that Plaintiff has failed to justify as relevant or reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence either generally or specifically.

REGIONS' REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 3: Produce all documents relating to all payments, revenues, income, commissions, profit-sharing amounts, bonuses (including loss ratio bonuses and commission volume bonuses), "splits" with other producers, individuals, companies, or entities, or other compensation or consideration that Painter, Chalk, and/or Alliant have received since July 15, 2013 as a result of the sale of insurance (including bonds and surety) products and/or service to customers formerly serviced by Regions that transferred their business to Alliant from July 15, 2013 to date. Your response should include the production of all bill commission statements, agency bill statements, carrier contracts, producer statements, invoices, and customer audits for all such former Regions customers.

ALLIANT'S RESPONSE: Alliant objects to this request for production on the basis that it is overly broad and unduly burdensome and on the ground that the documents it seeks are not relevant to the issues in this lawsuit nor reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Alliant additionally objects to this request for production on the basis that documents it seeks are confidential and proprietary and/or contain sensitive, confidential information about third-parties such that the considerations weighing in favor of their protection significantly outweigh any possible interest Regions has in obtaining such documents; although Alliant further asserts that Regions has no legitimate need for the documents sought by this request.

Regions argues that this discovery is directly relevant to and necessary for Regions' third-party beneficiary claim against Alliant, as well as its claim for damages for tortious interference. Its request is limited for the period of time from July 15, 2013, to the present, and Regions attests that its expert, Van Hedges, is unable to complete his report because he does not have this information. Alliant contends that Regions would only be entitled to determine its net profit damages based upon a calculation of its own historical revenue- and, that the discovery sought is irrelevant to that method of accounting. It cites the Ishee v. Peoples Bank, 737 So.2d 1011 (Miss. Ct. App. 1998), in support of its contention that the discovery sought by Plaintiff is irrelevant.

Regions interprets Ishee as recognizing that consideration of a plaintiff's past earning is only one recognized method of proving lost profits. Id. at 1013. It argues that because its expert requires the information to be able to give a comprehensive opinion on Regions' damages, it is entitled to the discovery for this purpose.

The Court is unable to conclude under the authority presented by Alliant that Plaintiff's damage calculation would be limited to its net lost profits (not gross lost profits) as shown by calculating its historical revenue, reduced by operating costs. The method of the appropriate damage calculation may be subject to dispositive motions or in limine motions, but the Court is reluctant to bar calculation methods at the discovery stage- particularly when a party's expert attests that the discovery is needed. Accordingly, the motion to compel shall be granted as to Interrogatory No. 6 and Request for Production No. 3.

(2) Documents regarding the net worth of Alliant

The second category of discovery at issue concerns the "net worth" of Defendant for purposes of punitive damages. The discovery requests are quoted as follows:

REGIONS' INTERROGATORY NO. 5: State your current net worth.
ALLIANT'S RESPONSE: Alliant objects to this interrogatory on the basis that the information it seeks is irrelevant to the issues in this lawsuit and not reasonably calculated to lead to admissible evidence. Alliant additionally objects to this interrogatory on the basis that the information it seeks is highly sensitive and proprietary so that any marginal relevance it may have, if any (which is disputed), is outweighed by the considerations that weigh in favor of protecting the current net worth of Alliant. Alliant finally objects to this interrogatory as seeking information that Plaintiff has failed to justify as relevant or reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence either generally or specifically.
REGIONS' REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 4: Produce all documents that reflect Alliant's most recent net worth or from which it may be calculated.
REGIONS' REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 5: Produce all financial statements that Alliant has prepared or that have been prepared for ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.